James Crompton EM

b. 19/09/1866 Farnworth, Lancashire.  d. 22/02/1951 Royal Salford Hospital.

DATE OF EM ACTION: 18/04/1932 Park Mill, Walkden, near Manchester.

James was the youngest of three children (his older brother Walter died as an infant) born to James and Mary Ellen Crompton (nee Constantine), from Farnworth, near Bolton, Lancashire. From an early age, James was working in the local cotton mill as an apprentice mechanic, learning the trade. In 1890, he married Alice Yardley and they initially lived with his widowed mother and brother. They had three daughters, Alice, Minnie and Lucy. By 1901, he had moved to Walkden, where he was a mechanic at the Park Mill. The family lived at 285 Bolton Road, near to James’ place of work. Alice died in Barton upon Irwell in 1921, leaving James a widower with three children. At the time of the incident in 1932, James was 65 years old. He remarried in 1937 in Barton upon Irwell to Frances Lydia Lloyd, and they moved to Swinton, where they resided at 7 Broadbent Street. James died in Royal Salford Hospital on 22nd February 1951 aged 84.



At about 3 p.m. on April 18th, 1932, an explosion occurred at the Park Mill of the Farnworth Cotton Spinning and Manufacturing Company Limited, at Walkden, near Manchester, wrecking the dividing wall between the boiler house and the blowing room as well as damaging the roof. The fires were not drawn at the time and the buildings, which were littered with debris from the wall and the roof, became full of smoke and escaping steam. Some twenty minutes after the explosion the Chief Engineer, Mr. James Crompton, learnt that Edith Jones, a woman worker in the blowing room, was missing. He at once entered the room to search for her, crawling on his hands and knees among the machinery, but the steam was very dense and he failed to find the woman. He found his way back to the door and proceeded to make a second attempt but was again unsuccessful. He then entered the blowing room at another point, through a broken window, and crawling through the steam among the debris he felt the woman’s foot and ascertained that she was held down by fallen brickwork which partially covered her. Mr. Crompton called for assistance and with the help of two other men Miss Jones was released. She was carried out through the window and removed to hospital with a broken thigh. Mr. Crompton is 65 years of age. His action was a very gallant one in that, as an experienced engineer, he must have been aware of the risk he ran, not only from further collapse of roof or wall but of scalding by steam and of being overcome by escaping gases. He showed great coolness and persistent bravery in thrice entering the steam-filled room with his sense of touch as his only guide in finding the injured woman.